Jungle Expedition Filmmaking Kit

I recently took a three day trip deep into the Borneo jungle. The trip involved travel in traditional boat and some jungle trekking. All I could take with me was what I could carry on my back. Given the tropical heat and high likelihood of torrential rain I decided I would only take what I could fit in my 30 litre hypergear waterproof backpack.

Here is a breakdown of all my gear:

Production Gear
*Canon XF100 HD video camera
*Canon SX230HS digital stills camera
*Rode NTG1 shotgun mic and sennheiser ew100g2 radio mic
*Rotolight on camera led light ( runs on 3 AA batteries)
* 3 x canon batteries for xf100
* 2 x canon batteries for sx230
* 2 x xlr leads, one for mic on camera, one longer lead for interviews
* 12 x rechargeable AA batteries
* polarizing filter for xf100
* 2 x 32gb 60mb/s compact flash cards for xf100
* 1 x 8 gb grade 6 SDHC card for SX230hs
* small soft case for radio mic
* small notepad and pen
* in-ear headphones
* Hypergear waterproof camera case
* HyperGear 30 lt waterproof backpack
Clothing
* sarong (doubles as towel)
* bedsheet
* mosquito net
* Hiking boots
* Akubra Overlander Hat
* board shorts
* hiking pants with zip off legs (pants and shorts in one)
* long sleeve quick dry shirt
* short sleeve shirt
* bandana
* 2 socks
* 2 jocks
* plastic throw over waterproof poncho
Toiletries
* Insect repellant
* sunscreen
* toothbrush and toothpaste
* dental floss
* soap and container
* toilet paper roll
* band aids and antiseptic cream

A tripod would have been handy, but I decided to not take one. The one time I needed a tripod I sat the camera on a plastic drum we took on the expedition.

The XF100 is the smallest broadcast quality High Definition camera in the world weighing in at 1 kg without accessories. I find it quite a liberating camera to use. I did a bit of jungle trekking with the xf100 on this trip whereby I just had it swung over my shoulder. We had to traverse some fairly thick jungle on inclined slippery slopes. I can’t imagine lugging anything bigger, it was difficult enough staying upright with just the xf! I also found the xf’s infra-red feature handy on this trip, using it at night around the campfire for some shots. I did a mix of both infra-red footage and night footage using my rotolight on camera light. The nice wide throw of the rotolight also came in handy around camp as can be seen below.

The xf100 allows users to set custom picture presets which determine the look of images captures. After months of experimentation I’ve chosen the Cine.F preset as the one I like the best. It gives a nice film like contrast as can be seen here

The SX230hs is a great little point and shoot digital camera which also has some manual features. I’ve found the HD video footage out of the SX230 to be amazing and have started using it as a 2nd camera for set ups such as where I want to record a close up of the food I’m eating (I just mount it on a mini tripod). I have a hypergear underwater case which allows me to use the sx underwater. I can even whitebalance the camera for underwater shots and on this trip I used the sx to get shots over the side of the boat and to show how clear the water was with some diving shots. The sx also has a GPS function whereby one can log the location of photos, and bring up maps of locations on a computer. This is an amazing feature but I’ve found it to be a bit flaky, sometimes not working and a huge drain on the battery when the GPS logging is engaged.

I use two professional mics, which allow me to set up a number of interview situations; I can do a sit down interview with the rode ntg1 whereby I just hold the mic and ask questions, I can mic up talent with the radio mic and allow them to explain something when I film them or I can wear the radio mic and ask questions from behind the camera, capturing my talents audio with the on camera rode ntg1.

So this is pretty much your bare bones broadcast quality production kit for a one man team. I found this kit gave me enough battery life and enough recording space to last the whole trip. I estimate the weight to be around the 10 kg mark.

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2 thoughts on “Jungle Expedition Filmmaking Kit

  1. well done and thanks for the great nice write up…..

  2. Mark, awesome kit you have here together with hypergear range of product!

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